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2015-09-24

Super Comanche Blood Moon eclipse Sunday

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Photo: Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip



Early Sunday evening, Sept. 27, Hill Country residents who have a nice view of the eastern horizon will be front and center for a nice show in our skies. The full moon will rise just after sunset, catching the rays of the setting sun. That will turn it orange as a pumpkin, which is why many refer to it as the Harvest Moon.
Texas tradition, however, calls this phenomenon the Comanche Moon, since the plains warriors liked to raid settlements in its light, taking home cattle, horses and sometimes, children.
Elsewhere, this fall full moon is referred to as the Hunters Moon.
Astronomers tell us that Sunday's full moon will also be the closest it comes to us on its orbit around Earth. This perigee moon is sometimes called a Super Moon. A Super Moon can appear to be over 10 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it is at apogee, or farthest from Earth.
There are a few folks out there (dare we call them lunatics?) who believe an apocalyptic meteor strike that same evening will bring the world to an end, but we see it as an opportunity to go out into the backyard with the kids, some binoculars and a cold drink and enjoy the sky. Have fun planning a pretend hunting raid.
But wait, there's more! This one will also eclipse!
The eclipse begins at 7:15 pm and should be completely covering the moon by 9:15 pm. The moon will then gradually emerge from the Earth's shadow and reemerge by 10:20 pm.
Some expect this eclipsed moon may turn into a "Blood Moon," when the moon appears a deep red in color. While this mysterious color change can appear somewhat frightening, the effect is due to sunlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere and reflecting onto the surface of the moon.
While you're out in the backyard, consider what you need to do around your property to keep artificial light out of the sky so that your grandchildren will be able to see the Milky Way.
Check out the International Dark-Sky Association's website to learn more about how we waste resources, damage ecosystems for wildlife, and cheat ourselves of the beauty of the night time sky with night-lighting.
Sunday's event will be the fourth total lunar eclipse in 17 months. It will be visible to people in more than half of our planet.